From my Guardian column:—
'... A modernist condo in Beverly Hills. Early evening. A sixtysomething movie producer, let’s call him Sammie, stares at the pile of unwatched dvds next to his TV while his wife loads the dish-washer in the kitchen. Next to the dvds, his Oscar nomination ballot. He’s left it to the last minute just like he always does.
He tries Lincoln first. Spielberg. A master. Daniel Day-Lewis. Also a master. But Jesus. All this yakking in dark, smoke-filled rooms. Could someone please open a window? They didn't have air conditioners back then? Guess not.
When Sammie wakes up Tommy Lee Jones is in bed with some black woman. Whodjahowthathappen? He resolves to vote for Daniel Day Lewis while fetching a cigar from his secret stash behind his Emmy. He knows he shouldn’t but still. It’s the film’s fault. All that smoke.
He tries Zero Dark Thirty, watches 20 minutes of some Arab getting tortured, takes it out again. Holy crap. No way.
“Are you smoking a cigar?” comes his wife’s voice from the kitchen.
“If I come in there and find you smoking again….”
Muttering under his breath, he wraps his bathrobe around him, collects his ashtray, rolls open the windows and steps out onto the pool. His wife has left all her magazines on the table. On the cover of all of them is Ben Affleck making goo-goo eyes at Jennifer Garner: “Why They Click: Ten Tips to a Successful Hollywood Marriage.”
He knows it’s bullshit, but he tears up anyway. Kid took his knocks but he picked himself up, came back and turned out to be quite a director. Just like they used to make. Thrills. Laughs. That Alan Arkin, he was funny, what was it he said? Argofuckyourself.
His mind returns to the others: Lincoln sequestered in his dark rooms. The hunt for Bin Laden.
Tap, tap from the window. His wife. Sammie makes his puppy dog face. She swats him out of sight, returns to the kitchen.
Argofuckyourself. That’s what it’s all about. The secret of life right there.
He takes a big long puff.
Lincoln. Bin Laden. Lincoln. Bin Laden.
He’s going with the kid.'
It certainly makes sense of the rest of the ballot: Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor and Editing to Argo, Actor and Adapted screenplay to Lincoln (and once you do that, doesn't it seem like you've scooped the best out of that movie?), Actress to Jennifer Lawrence, Supporting Actress to Hathaway, original screenplay to Boal, Cinematography to Life of Pi... and so on. Argo is also the one I least want to win, is the most insubstantial, etc, which is always a sure sign.